Evora, Praia do Amado, Praia do Mericao, and Cabo de Sao Vicente, Portugal Week 82 17th - 24th November 2012
                 
One last visit to the Tourist Info in Marvao and their wifi..

After 3 nights its time to move again.

How do we say thankyou to a town?

 
Heavy rain. All day.

Not good for sight seeing.

We passed some Roman ruins on the plain below Marvao.

The ambulance passed us a few hundred meters before we arrived at the rollover.

We continued to be careful.

 
Not a railway viaduct.

We think an aquaduct for Evora. A very long and high aquaduct. Another walled town.

The people we know that most built aquaducts were the Romans which would make it quite old! According to our favourite guide book there's a Roman era temple in the center of the old town.

Really not a good idea to stop in the rain. Still very heavy. We are headed just a few km west and may come back this way.

 
Once at the car park for Cromeleque Almendres the sun shone briefly. For about 5 minutes.

The colours and shapes among the cork trees caught our attention.

Lazily taken from the truck window as we ate lunch. Warm and dry inside.

 
A cromeleque is a megalithic stone circle.

Lots of menirs (standing stones).

Cromeleque Almendres is the largest on the Iberian Penninsular (Spain / Portugal).

About 100 menirs. A handful had faint, abstract, engravings.

In keeping with other gps coordinates we've tried to use for Portugal those we had for the cromeleque were about 8km out. Why do people bother? Grrrr!

For the record! Its at 38.5599N, 8.0615W (WGS84 datum). 406m above sea level for the pedantic!

  
Granite. From very close by. Though we didn't see any other large stones.

Late neolithic, about 7,000 years old. At least the arrangement, the stones are of course older!

Its believed initially a sort of open horseshoe shape but later closed and other circles added.

Its also believed there is a relationship with the positions of heavenly objects, solstices, and so on.

Archeologists only became interested in this area in the last 50 years or so. Some of the stones have been returned to their original positions.

The surrounding cork groves have a slightly muddy soil and grass. Around the stones, the car park, and the road in is granite sand. I'm taking bets that it was muddy in neolithic times! And maybe a bit of grass.

Who would have thought there were so many ways to arrange stones! I guess we'd call it a "henge". At least a "stone circle".

 
The cromeleque occupies the east facing slightly sloping side of a hill.

Walled town of Evora in the distance. The skyline of the cathedral looks an interesting shape.

 
The sun rose a bit later than us.
 
They are cork oaks. Never knew that before!

Indigenous.

The bark is harvested. The red bit is where its been removed. The rest looks lichen laden and ancient.

When we looked carefully we found a few "acorns" on the ground.

 
On the way out from the cromeleque we stopped at the Menire dos Almendres.

About a km away.

There are reputedly engravings on it. Coarse granite and the ravages of time made them invisible to us.

Its aligned with the cromeleque at sunrise on the Summer solstice.

We couldn't see the cromeleque from here.

Either the neolithic builders were taller, there were fewer trees, or tall flag poles!

 
Then about 10km south through Valverde we visited the Anta Grande do Zamujeiro.

We would call it a long barrow. An anta is a dolmen.

Around 5,500 - 6,000 years old and in use for about 2,000 years.

Same problem with coordinates. Its at 38.5374N, 8.0131W 

 
The walls to the burial chamber were about 4m high. The roof cap was missing. Which meant that instead of being disappointed that we couldn't see through the entrance we could look in from the top.

Being granite the stones are rounded rather than the more square sedimentary stone we're used to in barrows.

Thus, these stones don't fit together well. They seem to lean in a bit to touch each other as they can. 

 
Presumably it would have all been covered in earth. There's a lot of the earth surround remaining.

Just like the Cromelesque is the largest on the Iberian Peninsular so is this Anta.

There are other cromelesques (stone circles), menirs (standing stones) and anta (dolmen / burial sites) in this area west of Evora. 

 
We decided against returning to Evora.

We plotted a course for Sagres.

This aquaduct is just outside Valverde.

We were able to drive under it.

 
The railways look like broad gauge to us.

A bit odd I thought. Maybe they use a narrower gauge in the mountains.

Need to check! We didn't stop with the tape measure.

We haven't seen any trains in either Portugal or Spain but the line looks used.

 
Pine trees. We think.

Not the usual shape.

 
And rice.

We also saw melons.

And beef.

As we head south we are in rolling hills and it feels like the temperature is a bit higher. The agriculture is certainly changing.

 
Portugal generates around 45-50% of its electrical energy from renewables (solar, wind and hydro).

We wondered what a largish sub station was doing with no power station chimney near! Then all became clear as we turned the corner.

Room for sheep and goats to graze underneath. I hope the goats don't chew the wires.

 

 
There's also still room for the "old ways". 

We think for pumping water.

We couldn't see any sails.

 
Praia do Amado beach.

About 20 km north of Sagres.

We saw a small road and followed it.

 
The Atlantic.

Nothing between here and North America, and we have no desire to go there.

It makes it a bit windswept and wave bashed.

 
So we watched the sun set.

The car park has about 10 camping cars in it. And us. A different sort of clientele - shorts, surf boards and curly sun bleached long hair instead of chic apres ski fashion.

The surf school and camp is closed for the winter.

We now know of a smaller beach, just to the south, accessible only by 4wd. Maybe an alternative to spending a night near the Cape.

 
Breakfast was subtly different this morning.

Maybe its the warmer temperature and sunshine. Maybe another step closer to Morocco and a well earned (we think so!) long stop.

Important things were how to remove the paper wrapper from the butter before it melted, and how to get the last of the marmalade out of the jar without making the knife sticky. We've almost mastered balancing the marmalade on the end of the knife!

 
Watching waves and the three early surfers is much more more exciting than watching grass grow.

After half an hour this was the nearest any came to catching a wave. About 3 seconds standing on the board.

Marginally more successful than us waiting to catch a surfer catch a wave.

But what a wonderful place to be.

 
Last night we watched a bit of Lord of the Rings.

Today we drove at least 15 km to "second beach" where we had "second breakfast".

Followed by elevenses, lunch and little lunch.

At first no name for our new beach. About a km south of Praia do Amodo if we walked. A Dutch couple walking along the coast had a map. Thus, I think, Praia do Mericao (spelling?).

The pinks and blues are just as nice.

The road in is thought of as a 4wd track so we mostly had it to ourselves. A couple of fishermen and a French couple in a Landrover camper. GPS knew about the track. Just a bit steep and a bit awkward getting onto the flat bit at the bottom to camp. 37.1555N, 8.90721W 

 
After a strenuous day dossing I climbed to the top of the hillside to the north of the beach.

Praia do Almodo further to the north where we previously camped and took a few photos from that middle outcrop.

A right good mixture of sedimentary rocks.

I'm stood in front of the white building that was on top of the hill in the photo three back!

 
"Our" beach.

The track angling across the hillside opposite is how we got there. An easy 1 in 5.5 (19%, a meagre 10) or thereabouts.

We've now remembered to read the "Walks in the Algarve" that Jane and Duncan (remember Manchester) gave us.

 
Right on the point, nestled in the low vegetation, enough to be sheltered from the wind. A lone crocus.

We've been promising ourselves slower progress for what seems like a lifetime.

So here we are, stopped, with time and place to "recover".

Its difficult to "do nothing" but we are trying our hardest.

 
Our intrepid duo with a whole Portuguese beach all to themselves! Greedy, if you ask me!

Sun (if a bit weak and low) all day for the solar. Fully charged batteries.

Rain last night but forgot to put the buckets out!

Temperature just right for us, 22C inside with windows open. Relative humidity about 50%. Just a tad cooler outside in the breeze. Not yet shorts for us.

 
Busy days!

Yesterday a walk east on the north side of the valley, found a track across, then back west along the south side. The same lovely views along the coast.

Today just soaking feet in the Atlantic. A couple of fishermen drove their landrover down from that white building on the hill top. Now we know what the rope down the cliff is for. And the Dutch couple walking with a detailed map. Provided by a Dutch "adventure holiday" agency.

 
We were just 22 km from Cape St Vincent.

One could be forgiven for thinking this was the edge of the world.

 
A calm day.

A new meaning to "long lines".

 
In the old days Henry the Navigater set his sailors loose to explore the world.

Now there's a military aerial farm for communicating with who knows what or whom.  

 
Lagos, Villamora, and Meaha, Portugal Week 83 25th - 26th November 2012
 
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